Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter

Nothing says "Happy Easter" quite like hunting for eggs hardly hidden on the prairie while wearing your snow boots, parka and mittens.

Remembering Easter 1988, our first in Naperville.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring Sculpture

I've had occasion to go through some pictures that I took in France a few years ago and found this for my contribution to Mrs. Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday:

The letter was part of a larger sculpture in the town of Vence, located between Nice and Antibes. (I bet you knew that already.)  I think we were dashing, so I didn't have time to find a better angle to capture the whole shebang. Being partial to this particular letter, I snapped and moved on, probably to another glass of rosé across town.

Later on, we returned to this charming place to hear a string concert given by German musicians in the local church. You can see a placard promoting the event in the store window, just behind the picket fence.

As we listened to the musicians play through Vivaldi's The Four Seasons (in what can only be described as an acoustical heaven), I read the many engraved names of soldiers and nurses from Vence lost to the First World War, a silent roll call amidst this magnificent music, which was prayer unto itself.

You can glory in Vivaldi's work here.

Each week, Naperville Now participates in Alphabe-Thursday. See what others have to say about the letter S here.

Monday, March 25, 2013


Naperville Now apologizes for being a little on the lazy side of things. The gray and cold have sapped whatever inspiration I need to stay on top of this here little blog project.

As of today, however, I am feeling HUGELY enthusiastic. And here's pourquoi.

We are headed back to this:

And this:
And lots of this:
And this:

Oui, oui! We are going to France in October! Probably not bathing suit weather in Nice that time of year, but isn't that a bonus on any continent?

Merci to Kévin and Etienne for including us in this first autumnal voyage to the splendiferous (and I do mean splendiferous) part of the world that is southeastern France.

Let the Mistral blow if it must, we will not care. For we will be in France.

(Thank you for indulging this poor Francophile her pirouette of happiness. I'll bring 'ya back a croissant, I promise.)

Thursday, March 21, 2013


In honor of this week's lesson on the letter R over by Mrs. Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday, I offer the word random, a state of mind/being/thinking that seems to be happening to me a lot lately. 

Drinking champagne at last night's book club didn't help.

Bubbly, awesome snacks and literary discussion rule the nights when we meet. If you don't have a club, invite your pals/random strangers and start one. Need book recommendations? The Snow Child by Ivey. The Member of the Wedding by McCullers. Olive Kitteridge by Strout. A start. 

You're welcome. 

My mother's vacuum cleaner, alive and well and living at the Home Show at Kane County last week.

A vendor had this beauty on display. It stopped traffic.  Then he tried to sell me a $2400 vacuum system. I just wanted the Electrolux. That chrome is irresistible.

(Sorry for the blur. I was so tickled with the backstory on these jeans that I couldn't keep my hands still.)

Last week, we were shopping en masse on 75th Street. Our daughter picked up darling outfits for the kids (spring break looms), among them these jeans with the sparkly belt.

Betsy got everything home and went to pre-wash her haul, pausing just long enough to call me and say, "Remember those jeans I picked out for Charley? They say dry-clean only! Who sends four-inch pants to the cleaners?"

They came through the wash just fine.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Will It Never End?

I received a furious email from my pal Sally, who lives even farther north in this world than I do.
After vowing to embrace the winter this year (which I have been very successful at, I might add), I am now officially into "screw this, it's past time for spring to show itself." 
Aaack! So on that page. 


And yet, despite the sleety mess that currently covers my neck of the woods, I could discern a cloud of something green.

Moss? Snow moss? Fungus-that-will-kill-everything-in-the-garden-this-year-bwah-haa-haa-haa?


Luckily, I have friends with actual garden knowledge who will identify this for me.

As for this, this I remember. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Thanks to Steve Jobs, we don't need Cheerios and crayons anymore. An iPhone is almost all it takes to keep everyone occupied until the DinoBites arrive.

There's a phone app called Gas Buddy, which Zachary uses to help Gramps hunt for the cheapest gas in Naperville. I've never used this app, so I can only testify to its soothing powers. On both of them.

There's the Camera Roll, of course, where pictures and videos are stored. Zach and Charley love this because they are the stars of 98 percent of it. Who doesn't like to look back on one's life two weeks ago and reminisce?

These kids hold these gadgets in near-reverence, for it is their go-to to toy within minutes of us sitting down to order.

And then there's the element of child-as-photographer. This may be the best app of all.

We can talk lighting and composition later.

Meanwhile, here's to calm at all dinner tables. And encouraging budgeting and art in one fell swoop.

Each week Naperville Now participates in Mrs. Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. See what others have to say about the letter Q here.

Monday, March 11, 2013


This past weekend, we ducked out for a second and discovered Crown Candy Kitchen, St. Louis' oldest soda fountain.

Malts and Phosphates and Newports*, oh my!

But first, the chocolates. 

Armies of solid bunnies, stacked on glass shelves from one end of the counter to the other. All made right there in the kitchen.


Even white chocolate crosses, which I've never seen before.

I was so preoccupied with admiring what they create in this 100-year-old kitchen that I forgot to buy anything solid. Instead, I became captive to the menu:

Chocolate malt for me. No, pineapple. Wait, cherry. Or maybe chocolate banana (I don't even like banana). Okay, make it marshmallow and chocolate. I think.

My mother, a St. Louis girl, told me when she was a child, her family received a gift of a gigantic chocolate bunny (or possibly pig, I can't remember). Her father used a hammer to chisel bits of it for their dessert throughout the coming months.

I remember being astounded that there once existed chocolate so big, it couldn't possibly be eaten in two bites, the only kind of chocolate I was familiar with. This was the very definition of joy, of mouth-watering heaven -- an epic, never-ending chocolate dessert that may have had its start in Old North St. Louis.

Ultimately, to the sorrow of everyone, the bunny/pig had to be pitched as summer descended in that pre-air-conditioned world.

On this day, we left in driving rain, but with a great view to the city.

Coincidence the Gateway Arch resembles a bunny hop trajectory? I think not.

*Apparently a Newport is a milkshake with added whipped cream and nuts. Being extremely health-conscious, we chose the way-better-for-you malts. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Piles To Go Before I Sleep

I'm thinking people who live in Hawaii or southern France don't sit around sorting through 150 years of photographs. They are too busy living in the moment and being seduced into all that glorious sunshine.

Our landscape looks more like this:

Piles of snow and darkness all day have made it easier to lead the life of a scrapbooking troglodyte, the better to hunch over all these years of life, reunions, birthdays, children and Halley's Comet.

I have officially made it to the 1970s, which is a good thing. The bad thing is I've watched these people grow old. At first they are wearing gigantic bows and going to the rural school with their cousins, attending church, then getting married, and sailing off to Cuba. In a blink they are celebrating marriage milestones, being eulogized and buried.

(In my next life, I'm going to hire an archivist and just head to the beach.)

This really organized card table, once our daughter's changing table, has become pictorial HQ. Having sorted hundreds of pictures as chronologically as I can, I've photo cornered myself silly while listening to the news, The View, The Chew, Dr. Oz (who seems to have 17 shows a day), AndersonEllen, HGTV, and the news again. 

There have been some surprises along the way:


(Such jokesters, those 1908 Illinoisans.)

And this is the incomplete result:

There are still documents and newspapers plus an entire box of unidentified relatives, which really bothers me. We have managed to track down a few cousins who may have duplicates, so I hope to identify at least some of these nameless folks.

I should be finishing up just in time to see our front lawn again.

And then it occurs to me, there are piles of Anna's wedding pictures. From last August. Waiting.

Each week Naperville Now participates in Mrs. Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. See what others have to say about the letter P here.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


What is it about the winter and my need for more of everything?

Food, chocolate (thank you, timely Valentine's Day and Easter), white wine, naps, quilts on the bed, café au lait, 500-page books and high wattage light bulbs. I can hardy contain myself. (My pants feel much the same way.)

This clinging to too much of everything is, I hope, a function of the lack of sunlight. At least, that's what I read. (Far be it for me to indict my self-control when blaming the universe/circadian rhythms/serotonin is so much simpler.)

And things are getting better. It is no longer pitch black at 5 p.m. I've been waiting for that  for a very long time. You, too, I'll wager.

The sun is shining, birdsong is audible most mornings and Daylight Savings begins in one week.

Plus, I found this bit of comfort outside my dining room window.

Of course, I have no memory of planting anything in that spot because who can possibly remember that long ago

And yet, there 'tis.

And all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well , T.S. Eliot writes. 

In March, I can believe it.